Over 110 students auditioned for this year’s Altus musical, “The Music Man,” written by Meredith Willson, as tryouts were held on Monday and Tuesday this week, in the High School Music Building. The production is scheduled to premiere on Nov. 24 & 25, and will feature a large cast including 19 men’s speaking parts and seven singing parts, and 10 women’s speaking parts and only three singing parts. Callbacks will be held on Thursday.
New Altus High School Director if Choirs, Mr. Nick Young, described the auditioning process as “less high pressure,” having students perform for directors, himself and Drama Director, Alice Newman, in a closed tryout setting without other students present. During open callbacks, students will perform in front of both directors and students.
“People get nervous,” Young said. “Auditioning is awful. It’s scary. I really try to make these auditions as stress free as possible because I want as many people to get involved as possible.”
The purpose of the general audition is not to fit students into specific roles, rather to help directors cast the right students to the right parts. The process has been simplified to learning one song and two speaking excerpts for the audition.
“All the information I need about their voice and about their character acting tells me what I need to know for callbacks,” Young said. “I want a big cast but not everyone is going to make the show, however if they are going to be in the show I’m expecting a lot of them. It is a commitment.”
Since the musical has more singing and speaking parts for guys than gals, Young said that his only regret about choosing the show is that it won’t show off all of Altus’ female singing talent.
“I have so many good female singers in this program,’ said Young. “It feels a shame to have really only one truly challenging and showy female vocal part in the show.”
Still, Young chose “The Music Man” because he feels a personal connection with it.
“People have asked me what musical I was going to choose since the second I got this job,” Young said. “Immediately that one came to mind. Not only because it is successful, not just because its a fun one that a lot of people know, but my personal connection. It was my grandfather’s absolute favorite show.”
Young played the lead role Harold Hill when he was in 7th grade in “Music Man Jr.”
“That show, those songs, are just core to who I am, so this show for me, it’s a very personal thing.”